Local Museums move toward unity
By LUIS FELIU
THE creation of a single regional museum for the Tweed moved a step closer yesterday with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the shire's three historical societies and Tweed Shire Council. About 170 people, including local MPs, councillors and members of the Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah and Uki/South Arm Historical Societies attended the ceremony on the lawns on the old Tweed River Art Gallery in Murwillumbah to launch the Tweed River Regional Museum strategic plan. Under the strategy, a single regional museum will operate over the three historical society sites with the societies transferring all of their collections, photographs, archives and research files to Council. Council in return will provide day-to-day running of the museums through the appointment of a curator/co-ordinator to work with society volunteers and organise an expanded program of exhibitions. The museum will be housed at the old gallery for two years from next July while a new museum building is built at Pioneer Park, Tweed Heads and extensions made to the Murwillumbah museum in Queensland Road. Tweed MP Neville Newell announced a $60,000 NSW Government grant to go toward the cost of the new museum's first exhibition and for half the salary of the curator. Council has set aside $100,000 for the start of the museums project which will take several years to achieve. Spokesman for the societies Bill Bainbridge said the combined new museum was a "one-off" which had not been tried before in NSW and which had the potential to be a model for other institutions. Mr Bainbridge presented mayor Warren Polglase with an historical photo of Chinderah and a "file" representing the collections and holdings of the combined societies "and now the regional museum". The files, he said, included 195 data bases, 6445 artefacts, 12,000 photos, a specialist library of 2673 items and "countless thousands of pieces of paper and digital records" which he described as a "significant proportion of the heritage and history of the Tweed shire".